Here’s your weekly dose of Fired Up Frday, the newsletter from Straddle The Line where I share life hacks, career tips and inspirational content to help you find purpose in your work and fulfillment in your life.
“My Mind is Playing Tricks on Me”
This past weekend as I vacationed with my family off the coast of Cape Cod my body was there, but my mind was not. As we sat on the beach under the mid-August sun my mind kept flipping back to its latest infatuation: work. As we head into the final stretch of the year, the pressure of my sales job is starting to heat up and I couldn’t help but think I wasn’t doing enough. As I walked along the sandy shore my mind kept playing out potential future events.
What if my meetings next week fall through? What if I don’t hit my sales goals? These thoughts haunted me and I could hardly shake them.
Then we were driving to dinner one night and the song “My Mind is Playing Tricks on Me” came on the stereo and I momentarily snapped out of my stupor. The 90s hip-hop song by the Geto Boys tells three separate stories where the rappers’ minds had led them into states of paranoia, fear and outrage only to realize in the end that none of it was real.
Much like the song, I can see now that my mind is constantly playing tricks on me. As soon as one part of my life seems under control another part becomes unstable and my mind will cling to it, obsess over it, and tell me I need to fix it. It’s an endless, torturous cycle.
In the past I’ve noticed that the reality is almost never as bad as all the scenarios my mind will play out beforehand. Therefore, the constant worrying, fear and anxiety is useless and even dangerous.
Ever since I heard that Geto Boys song on the stereo, I’ve been using it to override the poisonous thoughts that flood my mind. I tell myself “my mind is playing tricks on me” and the bad thoughts are temporarily silenced.
You Must Accept Where You Are
“There’s a fine line between ambition and perpetual discontent” STL member Tulsi Caughell once said in reaction to something I told her about my own aspirations. This is a quote that has stuck with me ever since. In my own life, I often find myself straddling the line between “ambition and perpetual discontent” never happy with where I am as I always try to claw forward.
While I still believe that growth and striving for more is a good thing for me, I understand now that it’s essential to fully accept where I am today. As Eckhart Tolle states in “The Power of Now” you must choose between three states of being in order to find inner peace today: enjoyment, enthusiasm or acceptance. If one of these three is not present then you will find yourself in a painful world of discontent.
I’ve found lately that accepting where I am is critical to finding peace today even as I strive for more tomorrow. So even though today I am still hunting for an ideal career that brings me joy, I accept where I am and in this way I can be content and happy with today.
Don’t Identify with Your Job
What’s the first thing that people ask you when you meet at a party? Nine times out of ten they’ll ask you “what do you do?” and then you’re forced to tell them about your job. The way our culture works today we associate people we meet directly with what they do for a living.
You work in sales? You work in real estate? You work in construction? There’s a stigma attached to each one of these. Our culture forces us to identify with our job and make that a huge part of what we do. But is that good for you?
Identifying with your can be helpful temporarily as it lets you join into a certain subculture, but what happens if you lose your job tomorrow? What happens if you change careers next year? This identity that you created for yourself is gone in an instant and you’re left wondering who you really are.
Am I a “sales person” because I’m in sales today? What if I get laid off tomorrow? Who am I then?
We need to be careful in identifying ourselves fully by what we do for a living today. The next time someone asks you at a party “what do you do?” I challenge you to answer using other parts of your life. Tell them about your hobbies, kids or aspirations.
Tell them who you really are.
Quote of the Week:
“The quality of your life depends on the happiness of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius
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